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Case Number 04900

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Power Rangers: Dino Thunder

Buena Vista // 2004 // 110 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 31st, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson says it's all been downhill since Amy Jo Johnson left to become an ass-kicking coed.

The Charge


Opening Statement

The kickoff to the 583rd spin-off for the Power Rangers franchise, Dino Thunder sports three episodes introducing the newest members to the Power Ranger Family: Connor, Kira, and Ethan, guided by Dr. Tommy Oliver (from the old-school Rangers) who looks less like a doctor and more like a snowboarder. Together, the quartet will have to do battle with a bunch of plastic-looking evil monsters, lorded over by the evil Mezagog.

Facts of the Case

Classmates of Reefside High (school motto: "No marijuana jokes please, we've heard them all already"), Connor McKnight (played by some kid), Ethan James (played by some other kid), and Kira Ford (played by some girl) run in different school cliques.

Connor is a socially awkward nerd who would rather focus on geometry than dating girls. Psych-a-booboo!!!! With a name like Connor McKnight it's obvious that he's AN AWESOME JOCK DUDE. Ethan is a smart-ass computer whiz kid and Kira is a spunky musician. Though the three couldn't be more different, they are soon bound together as Power Rangers.

After stumbling across some magic gems, the kids are given spectacular powers that allow for some sweet fighting skills. This is convenient, as the trio is immediately set upon by a horde of reptilian fighters.

Meanwhile, Dr. Oliver (Power Rangers vet Jason David Frank and current record-holder for most consecutive first names) arrives at Reefside to teach paleontology. But his past is about to revisit him as he finds himself besieged by computer-generated dinosaurs.

Tommy lays the skinny on Connor, Ethan, and Kira, clueing them into their destinies as spandex-sporting superheroes that wield plastic weapons and ride around in plastic dinosaurs called Dino Zords.

Together they're the newest team of Rangers, tasked with defying the evil whims of Mezagog, while reconciling their new duties with their normal teenager lives.

The Evidence

I think the Power Rangers and Law and Order are competing to generate the most television spin-offs.

…hmmmm, an idea. LAW AND ORDER: NINJA STORM…Pan to interior of courtroom, where a shark monster sits in the witness stand.

Sam Waterston: "So, I'll ask you again. If it wasn't you who grew to 100 stories high and trashed the city, then who was it?!" (shark monster breaks free, Waterston unsheathes his Power Gavel and does fearsome ninja battle!).

…so, anyway, here now is the latest entry into the eternal Power Ranger saga. And like all its forbearers, it retains what makes the Rangers, the Rangers:

1. The kids are stereotypes. Jocks and nerds and artsy-fartsy types and mean principals abound. Thank goodness all the villains are stereotypical, too. You see, they're evil.

2. Power Rangers need to bob their heads wildly to talk. Possibly hopped up on some kind of amphetamine, our intrepid heroes communicate through exuberant shouting and shaking their noggins so violently it's as if scorpions are attacking their eyeballs.

3. The weapons and the robots looks like they came out of a mail-order catalog for party favors. Yet the Tyranno-Staff, which resembles a Playskool fishing pole, can dispatch legions of attackers with a few swipes.

4. Everything explodes. Regardless of an enemy's chemical composition, if it's been zapped by a super-beam emitted from the awkward-as-all-get-out-looking Zord combo robot, the target will detonate like a fiery propane tank covered in gasoline and grenades.

5. Despite the attempts at positive moral messages, once the kids suit up it's ASS-KICKIN' TIME!!!! I suppose if you're wielding weapons called the "Pteragrips," it's far more tempting to decapitate your antagonist than to sit and chat and get to the root of the problem and learn that you really can get along with someone despite your differences.

You know…perhaps I'm being overly critical of the Power Rangers. It's probably because I'm looking at them through the lens of a man in his late twenties. Perhaps I should examine them from the point of view of the intended audience.

Okay, starting over—the Dino Thunder review as told by an eight year-old boy with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who's just eaten three bowls of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Squares:

Alright another Power Rangers show I'm so excited I can't get enough of the Power Rangers they're so awesome I've watched every episode since I gained cognitive ability and now here's some brand new heroes and they have dinosaur powers and I love dinosaurs they're so awesome I especially love the T-Rex I don't know what "T" stands for but he's so awesome anyway and look the Red Ranger rides a T-Rex that is so awesome and he has cool staff and there's a girl and she rides a flying dinosaur whoa I thought the T-Rex was the only dinosaur but look there's a guy who rides another one with horns and AWESOME it's Tommy from all the other Power Ranger shows I guess he can't get work anywhere else and look how awesome it is that he's getting chased by that awesome T-Rex it looks so real I can't believe they actually found a T-Rex to act in this show and there are some bad guys and now the Rangers have to FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT I LOVE FIGHTING FIGHTING IS AWESOME THE POWER RANGERS ARE AWESOME MOM I WANT A TYRANNO-STAFF SO I CAN FIGHT THE EVIL SQUIRRELS OUTSIDE MOM MOM MOM MOM BUY ME A TYRANNO-STAFF BUY ME ONE NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

The shows are all in their original full screen format and presented in a very crude, grainy manner. I was surprised at how shoddy the transfer is. The stereo mix serves the shows unspectacularly, often sounding shallow and tinny.

The extras provide plenty of additional entertainment with two bonus Ninja Storm episodes and a few "collectible" Power Ranger trading cards that feature characters and weapons (other cards are available with subsequent volumes.) Lastly, are some demonstrations of ninja moves, ideal for training the toddler in your family to beat the stuffing out of his siblings.

Closing Statement

Dino Zords, Tricera Shields, and Battilizer Armor: all the necessary ingredients for fine cinema.

The Verdict

I'm "zord" of nauseous.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 80
Extras: 90
Acting: 70
Story: 60
Judgment: 74

Perp Profile

Studio: Buena Vista
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Action
• All Ages
• Martial Arts
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Bonus Ninja Storm episodes
• Ninja moves
• Virtual trading cards


• IMDb

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